“Auxilio…” Help me. The word was barely audible, a whisper in a crowded courtroom. The only word uttered by the defendant; his last word before he fell. Captain Rafael Acosta, arrested by the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela for conspiracy and tortured to death, “Auxilio…” in a soft low voice from the wheelchair as he was rolled in to face the unjust judges.
“Auxilio…” and then silence, for he is dead – murdered. Another victim of Venezuela’s socialist madness; right? Who cares, right? “Auxilio…” – its as if in his last cry Acosta channeled in one murmur the desperate plea of a nation.
The development of western civilization has been party credited to the novel; at least that is the contention of Lynn Hunt. But why? Because the novel taught the general public in Europe, for the first time, to do something they had never done before. It taught them to see the world through the eyes of somebody else, a character, an entity not themselves. Empathy. The discovery of empathy changed the world.
So let me ask you, you who have inherited the birthright of the west. Can you empathize with Captain Rafael Acosta? Can you feel the hot probes? Can you cringe at the blows? Can you hyperventilate at the plastic bag over your head filled with bug spray? Can your heart accelerate in the panic of mock drowning? Worse, perhaps, can you feel the burning shame as your privacy and dignity are violated by the beetle-men as they mock? And can you feel the panic rise in your consciousness as you look into the eyes of your torturers and realize that, not only will they never stop, not only do they feel no remorse – but they are in fact enjoying the work?
This is what socialism gives us, incidentally. Violence and famine. But why? Are not their motivations more pure than our own? Ayn Rand used to say there was only ever one fight, that which is between the individual and the collective. The state and the citizen. It started with Plato and Aristotle and has defined the march of history down through time. The state, given ultimate power and authority by collectivists in every form, socialists intent upon enacting their utopias; an entity that is so vulnerable to takeover that it quickly becomes captured by the greedy and the wicked. The strong and confident rarely seek power over others, for they would not be subjugated by the mob, even to lead them. They do not want the bother; the bread and circus; the press of unwashed flesh, even adulating flesh. But those who are weak and envious and greedy see the control of the rabble as their only way to wealth and position – the self-confidence they can find only in controlling the levers of the state, that euphoria which can fill the empty dark places in their hearts where there should be… – yes, empathy.
There is a reason that socialists are better bureaucrats and individualists are better at works of compassion. Why a socialist might come up with a state plan to ‘care’ for vulnerable children, turning Howard Roark’s great church into a half-way house for the unwanted; but why individualists take the children into their homes to nurture them and set them upon the path to righteousness. For we all know that collectivities cannot raise a child into a great man, that this is only done through empathy and love. But we also know that this is not the point of the state’s forced charity – that it, too, is about power and control.
None of this helps Captain Rafael Acosta; who was murdered this week for lack of empathy. Oh, not by the torturers who applied the screws or wielded the pliers. Those men are no longer truly human but have become an aberration, orks whose souls have been twisted and bent in their impunity to resemble only in outward form that greatest creation of God. No, Acosta was murdered by lack of empathy by all of us. By America’s own “democratic socialists” who are keen to keep people forgetting that theirs is a project which would lead to our own torture (mine first, for daring to write this essay). Who are hopeful that people forget their role in the building of so great a prison-state just south of our borders – and yes the role was significant. Danny Glover and Sean Penn and Harry Belafonte and Michael Moore (I could go on) all providing much-needed oxygen when it was most required and who now say, weakly and without conviction, “But they didn’t do it right…” as they rapidly attempt to change the subject. And Captain Rafael Acosta was murdered also by those who are now fleeing their ‘planned paradise’ by the millions; who enthusiastically participated in the theft, in the orgy. It was even fun, pretending that prosperity can be transferred by decree and that such a revenge as they sought to perpetrate would not lead to their own destruction. As in all terrible refugee crises – those being fed in the plastic-sheeting villages of Cucuta were the architects of their own destruction.
But was he murdered for our own lack of empathy? “What else could we do?” you might ask, and I struggle for a response. To give charity money to be distributed to the shadow-people only extends a lifeline to the tyrant. To march and vote, and to rebel – that is not our role, we who are not born with a brown passport upon which is emblazoned a little horse marching steadfastly to the left. So what to do? I don’t know anymore; maybe raise your voice for Captain Rafael Acosta, pray for his fate and his family and find a way to make his name and what they did to him echo into eternity. Honor those who are murdered for their freedoms – William Wallace upon the rack whose name still inspires. For while the socialists have their bureaucracies and their torture chambers – we have only our martyrs.